Corolla Miku Roundup!

Miku meets a human-sized hot dog (Toyota web ad)

Miku is quite busy lately: she’ll have yet another concert in Sapporo in August (for which 5pb ruled out any possibility of having a live stream) just after her debut in Los Angeles, supercell’s “World is Mine” is occupying the top spots on iTunes, and she also has an English voicebank in the works.

Then she started being obsessed with bacon-wrapped hot dogs. Read on for a recap of the Corolla Miku ads and illustrations Toyota USA has been bringing to us!

It all started with Crypton Future Media and Toyota USA signing a partnership: Miku would finally officially have her debut in the United States, driving her brand new Corolla, while Toyota would be sponsoring her concert at the Los Angeles Anime Expo. The first step was to feature her in a series of ads made by the American media agency InterTrends Communications, with only the first one apparently having been aired on channels targeted at Asian Americans, as well as in Asian countries. This ad, “Dream Harmonic”, came in six versions: two English versions, “Big Dream” and “Compact Dream”, and four versions of the former in Japanese, Korean, Cantonese and Vietnamese (check the video description of Big Dream for the links).

Dream Harmonic – Corolla + Miku: Big Dream

Dream Harmonic – Corolla + Miku: Compact Dream

You can see making-of pictures on InterTrends Communications’ Facebook album.

Toyota also released other ads, that for now haven’t been confirmed to have aired on TV. Contrary to Dream Harmonic, these ads focus more on Miku as a person — a light-hearted teenager who enjoys simple pleasures like having a beauty nap, chatting with other girls and falling in love with a bacon-wrapped hot dog, a popular dish in Los Angeles.

However, the first one featured Miku only in music, namely World is Mine, as she doesn’t appear in this flash mob. (The videos are presented in chronological order.)

Miku – Compact Flash Mob

Corolla + Miku – Beauty Nap

Corolla + Miku – Render Room

Corolla + Miku – Chitchat

Corolla + Miku – Hotdog

Toyota also commissioned artists for Miku illustrations; they were featured on posters, on Toyota’s official website, and printed in magazines targeted at Asian Americans. Generally, they are in stark contrast to the usual Miku illustrations fans draw, as Corolla Miku looks much more mature.

The first one to have been released was a poster featuring an angel-like Miku flying over a Corolla; it was drawn by Canadian artist Alvin Lee, who worked for such big video games or comics companies as Capcom, Marvel and DC. This print ad was published on the May issue of KoreAm and Hyphen among other magazines.

Print ad for Corolla + Miku campaign, Alvin Lee version.
Original drawing by Alvin lee

Alvin Lee wrote some comments about this work on his deviantART page:

Here’s the unedited 1 of 2 pieces done For Hatsune Miku + Toyota Corolla!

The client had a very specific vision for the piece which is cool because it was really fun to create (and hopefully excel) under specific parameters. She had to be drawn to look a bit older as opposed to Japan in order to cater towards an international market. I tried to find an even middle ground where she would look anime but still digestible to the everyday viewer.

They did give me some creative freedom in how the pose , wings and hair was drawn but in the end the format had to still fit the intended layout. I did explore some new tricks on the hair though.

Had a bunch of fun learning about and creating Hatsune Miku, hope you all like it!!!

[ Press Release from Toyota: Pick up the May issue of Koream, Hyphen or many other magazines for a special collectors edition print of Hatsune Miku. This month, artist Alvin Lee teamed up with Miku and Corolla. ]

Digital Colors provided by the always fire breathing, Man They Call Doe! [link]


Next up, another one by Alvin Lee that appeared on Toyota’s website; it was met with criticism by part of the fandom due to similarities with a drawing by Japanese artist Tony Taka, the coloring style, and the way her face was drawn.

By Alvin Lee

Alvin Lee answered some of the criticisms adressed to his work, still on his dA page:


In spite of the mixed reviews for this piece, I’m going to stand by my man Doe! [link] The guy totally blew me away with these colors and more importantly the client was also equally as impressed!

**Note** this image was based from Tony Taka’s illustration, I was basically requested to redraw it in a more “mature” style, so consider this as an homage or a remix of the original.

Lee also uploaded the raw pencils of this drawing, giving further details about it and comments on the reception of the illustration.


Here’s the RAW PENCILS of the second piece for the Hatsune Miku + Corolla Campaign! [link]

I’ve been getting some very mixed reviews for this piece and I welcome it! Discussion is always good and never bad. It’s what free-thinking minds should do, and honestly I learn quite a lot from them!

The Argument at large here is that it doesn’t look quite Anime enough or “OTAKU” for Hatsune Miku and also that I copied Tony Taka’s original drawing.

In my defense the client wanted her to look less Otaku and more “mature” specifically in her eyes, being a little slimmer. Aso the hair was requested to have more individual strands, to cater to a “sexier” American market. (However I will note that the nipple and side boob was strategically removed in the final.)

In terms of the piece looking like Tony Taka’s, that was fully intentional. It seemed the client really liked that specific pose and simply had me redraw it. I submitted many variations anyway (which I will post as process pics later) but in the end…Tony Taka’s still won the day! what can I say, it’s a great pose! Just consider this piece an homage or like a remix of the original.

I’ll admit, some of the digital colors on this piece ended up turning out little more realistic than I originally intended but I must stand by my man DOE, because I was blown away by his work on this piece. More importantly, so was the client!!!

I will post the digital colors soon, just wanted to give you a little taste and perhaps a little more insight into this piece.

Also I will note that artist Zain has now done an awesome new version of the print Ad for June, I believe that this is to illustrate to the public that these are just artist interpretations… Miku will always be Miku!

Like it or hate it? You be the judge!

Another artist commissioned by Toyota was Zain (known as zain7 on deviantART), a Japanese artist. His first Corolla Miku drawing was his take on “flying Miku”; it was used in print in the June issue of KoreAm, as well as Audrey and other Asian American magazines.

Print ad for Corolla + Miku campaign, Zain version.
Close-up of the Miku print ad by Zain

Another one presumably by Zain (according to the Vocaloid Wikia, though no official source seems to prove it) is currently featured at the top of the Corolla Miku page.

Source: Toyota

And lastly, here’s an illustration that appeared on Toyota’s Facebook page. It was drawn by Korean artist KKUEM (Ji-Yun Chae). Thanks to John Small for this info!

Illustration for the "Miku's Virtual Audience" project

It was also featured on official cars during Anime Expo 2011, both of which were on display in the front lobby of LACC and in front of the Nokia Theatre. (Photos courtesy of redemption2)



No details on who drew the second one.

We’ll update the article as more ads and illustrations surface!

Art is, at its core, a matter of taste, and it’s not surprising that some of these works received mixed reviews. Crypton is a small company, and they couldn’t possibly have promoted Miku by themselves in such a large scale; the means can be criticized, but the end is clear: having such renowned and talented artists as well as one of the biggest companies in the world use Miku’s image is yet another opportunity for Vocaloid to spread around the globe.

About: kurisuto

16 thoughts on “Corolla Miku Roundup!”

  1. I got that last Miku illustration on a poster from the Toyota booth at Mikunopolis. I think they had multiple versions of the poster with different illustrations on them for each day of Anime Expo; my nephew went to AX the next day to get the same poster, but his had Alvin Lee's version.

    Anyway, if you need help identifying the last illustration, my poster says that Miku was illustrated by KKUEM. I'm sure you can find them out through some quick Google searches.

    1. Thanks for the info! Actually, even after googling it I couldn't confirm it, but it does indeed to be the case. When you go to his site, which is in Korean, there's the illustration on the front page.

      I'll edit the article!

  2. There's not going to be live stream for the concert held in Sapporo? Do you know why/Did they say why?
    I mean, I guess I can understand considering that concert is floating around all over the internet but yea…I'm wondering if they decided to not use a live stream for a different reason

    1. Yeah that's really surprising, but a fact. Knowing how much people would be ready to order a ticket on NND and the money at stake for them I'm quite astonished; especially knowing that they will broadcast the concert to many theatres in Japan, thus the only thing they have to do would be to jack the NND feed to this system et voilà …
      We can only hope they will change their mind later on, or at least provide a DVD, because I really loved this concert far more than the previous one.

      1. I agree. As much as the Project Diva Arcade/Dreamy Theatre are very good eye candy. I'd prefer this concert a lot better just because they moved a lot more realistically, and music was better, and there was way better interaction with the audience. Then of course the producer on stage performing as well -.-

        I really do hope they change their mind or provide a DVD -.-


  3. Yes, Miku is getting more exposure but, what good is it if it hurts her image in the process?

    Toyota using promoting Miku was a great idea however, the only commercial they've done so far that really does that is the first. Dream Harmonics had some elements that could have been done better but over all it does what is was intended to do. The beauty nap was cute but, all the other spots were just ridiculous. If Dream harmonics was shown on main stream channels, it might raise some curiosities but, the others would turn most off and make her unmarketable. I think most Miku fans agree with me on this as evidenced by the outcries on her Facebook page. There was enough hate e-mail from upset fans that Toyota had to drop the 'macho' Miku they originally used.

    1. "I think most Miku fans agree with me on this as evidenced by the outcries on her Facebook page. "

      I have to disagree on that. Angry people get much more attention than happy people, that's how it works. You have no way to know what the majority thinks.

  4. Thanks for this great summary Kurisuto ! I will never understand the hate against Alvin Lee's take on Miku which I think is the best alternative art I've seen so far. Sure the downsizing of the picture on Toyota's website did not do justice to the coloring, but when you see the full-scale picture (good you gave it) or the amazing crayon of Lee how could you not be impressed ?
    Also glad you choose to feature Hotdog man, this small video had me smile a lot.

    1. Oh damn, there was even more info on that sketch's description! I'll add it to the article… yet another update.

      And yeah, personally I liked the hotdog ad. Good to know I'm not alone! 😉

  5. So what channels do these commercials air on? I want to see it, as well as show it to my family.

    1. Only on channels aimed at Asian Americans; I couldn't find an official list of the channels it's being aired on, but it seems you can see it at least on SBS America and SBS Plus (Korean).

  6. If the source on Zain is incorrect please contact the wiki admins about it as some people can take wiki information too literal; the wiki is still looking for the various commissioned illustrators involved in the Toyota project. The styles do look similar, so I’ll look into it and try to find the correct artist. Thank you.

    Apologies for any misinformation, as it was posted by following Alvin’s comment, so since he got both a poster and mainpage spot, the information on Zain spawned from this.

  7. It has nothing to do with hate mail; the client was satisfied with it and specifically wanted that look for the site, and Toyota is commissioning various artist to promote the Corolla. I think what hurts Vocaloid promotion is a negative fanbase who overreacts to anything that might potentially be known outside their circle.

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